With the return of Jose Reyes to the Toronto Blue Jays line up fast approaching, it’s time for the legions of Toronto Blue Jays fans that have come to adore his replacement to come to terms with the inevitable. Munenori Kawasaki’s time on the Blue Jays Major League roster is coming to an end.
Kawasaki’s popularity may seem strange to some, for those of us that have been Toronto sports fans our entire lives, this city’s attraction to players that just aren’t very good is quite common place. Guys like John McDonald, or Tie Domi for the Maple Leafs capture the heart of the city, despite their lack of actual value to a team (Johnny Mac at least played a fine shortstop).
(Thanks to DJF and @Goldandorsmith for the GIFs)
Unfortunately for Mr. Kawasaki the things that he doesn’t do well enough are hit, run, or field, which are all kind of important for being on a baseball team. Sure Kawasaki has been slightly above replacement for the time that he’s been filling in for Jose Reyes, but he just hasn’t been good enough to supplant any of the other players on the Blue Jays roster once Reyes returns.
Saying Emilio Bonifacio and Maicer Izturis have struggled thus far in 2013 might be an understatement, but their potential contributions, positional flexibility and in the case of Izturis, his contract, all but ensure that they will be above Kawasaki on the depth chart when it comes to roster crunch time.
While the love for Kawasaki has been cute, and his (modest) production has been a surprise, being upset by his loss is folly. Baseball is a business, and to succeed the Blue Jays need to field the best team possible. To field the best team possible, the Blue Jays are going to move forward without their favourite “JAPANEEEEEEEESE” shortstop.
Despite its obviousness and inevitability, the cult of Kawasaki will decry this choice. Luckily for Blue Jays fans, Kawasaki will be going down to make room for Jose Reyes. Remember him? He’s one of the best shortstops in baseball? One of the most exciting players in the game? He plays for the Toronto Blue Jays!
The Blue Jays return to Toronto this weekend to play the Texas Rangers, which is followed by a 7 –game road trip that lasts until June 17. That my friends means that this weekend could be the last chance you have to see Munenori play in a Blue Jays uniform. The way 2013 has gone for the Jays, I’m almost certain that someone will get hurt and Kawasaki will be back, because if something bad is going to happen it might as well happen to the Jays, so maybe Kawasaki stays, but if not this could be your last chance to say goodbye.
For all you suckers fans out there that plunked down $35 for a Kawasaki t-shirt, or god forbid spent $150+ on a replica Kawasaki jersey, you’d better start wearing it every day, because in a couple of weeks, it won’t be of much use.